We are tired of living in fear
It is comforting that government is aware that President Joyce Banda’s lifting of ‘shoot-to-kill’ has given ammunition to some officers in some parts of Malawi to ignore calls to deal with criminals.
Minister of Lands and Housing, who is also leader of the House, told the just ended sitting of Parliament government will deal with those officers caught in such malpractices.
The Inspector of General of Police Lot Dzonzi this other day also told the nation he had given his officers up end of June to reduce crime rate in the country. He also said he had written the Ministry of Home Affairs to begin dialogue on improving the security industry in the country due to lack of governing laws and guidelines.
During the late president Bingu wa Mutharika’s regime, crime was also a problem despite the shoot-to-kill order which Banda has reversed. But the difference is that beside crime, we also lived in fear of law enforcers who would pounce on you at any opportune time. Then there were those Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cadres, who, following the order of their master, the late president, to deal with his critics, would terrorise everyone with dissenting views and would get away with it. Homes, streets and workplaces were no longer safe for those critical to the president, his administration and his government. You could smell anger and fear in Malawians everywhere you went. This fear is gone but it is this other terror from criminals that is disturbing the peace that Malawians are well known for.
If you have a car, you have to worry if you will find everything in the vehicle intact when you wake up in the morning. And if you happen to park the car outside the home for a quick dash into a house, you have to wonder if in the five minutes that you are in the house, your car battery, windows, mirrors etc will be there.
If you have a security guard, you have to wonder if he is not the Judas who will lead the robbers right to you in the thick of the night.
If you have a home, you have to wonder if the one who has come to take water or electricity meter readings is indeed from the Water Board or Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) and not someone who is looking at a chance to strike when you are least suspecting.
If you have a helper in the house, especially a new recruit, you wonder if your home, children and indeed yourself are safe or you have just opened your house to danger.
If you happen to walk home in the evening or at night in your neighbourhood, you have to walk in faith or armed for any attack, otherwise you wonder if whoever is coming in front of you or behind will not relieve you of your handbag, laptop, wallet, mobile phone and other items.
Some have blamed it on lack of employment, others think it is because of the recent devaluation which has hit Malawians hard. Yet others have blamed it on mere lawlessness, corruption, the list is endless. In addition, police have been also been blamed for aiding crime. Whatever the reasons, Malawians are being forced to live in fear due to security lapses. Government must be vigilant to sort out security issues in the country and bring it back to the good old days when people used to sleep outside because it was hot inside the house. We need to go back to when Malawi was a safe haven to its people, visitors, investors and all. We are tired of living in fear.